Blerim Dzemaili is here, and not for the sights.
While he fully intends to “know everything about Montreal” in due time, the Impact’s newest Designated Player is already focused on the soccer ball. After landing at Montreal-Trudeau Airport this Tuesday at lunchtime, Dzemaili talked of his excitement at getting to know his new teammates – and not just in the Centre Nutrilait kitchen; on the field, too.
“If everything goes well, tomorrow I can train with the team,” Dzemaili said. “I think I’m ready for the [game], but the coach will decide that.”
Whether Dzemaili is on the Stade Saputo grass or not, this Saturday at 5pm EDT against Columbus Crew SC (TICKETS – TVA Sports, 98,5FM & TSN Radio 690), it won’t be his first contact with the Bleu-blanc-noir. During his time at Bologna, Dzemaili kept track of the Impact’s performance – he took the opportunity to give his thumbs up to the Impact’s win in Washington –, providing him with an idea of what’s ahead of him in MLS.
“I hope to bring something new to the league,” Dzemaili said. “This is a challenge for me. I’ve played in top leagues, but I can’t go easy on the pitch, because as I’ve seen, the football here is not easy. I have to be prepared and focused, as I always am.”
Dzemaili has also listened to the advice of his former teammate at Napoli, current Montreal midfielder Marco Donadel.
“I’ve spoken to Marco. He said that this is a really nice place, and that we can do something important here. This is what he wants to do, this is what I want to do, and this is what everybody wants to do.”
The upcoming task is a heavy one, as the player has just finished an almost full season at Bologna. But Dzemaili insists that his body is ready to keep playing.
“I expect a lot of myself and of my teammates. I’m here to win. After playing three years at Napoli and one year at Galatasaray, you get used to it, because the pressure is incredible. I’m used to this. I don’t have a problem with pressure.”
Neither does the Switzerland international have a problem with distance.
“I’ve spoken with the national team coach, and he said that his only doubt is jet lag,” Dzemaili said. “Everything else depends on me. … Right now, I don’t feel tired. I’m just excited to be here.”